Recently, I received an email from Peter (name changed), a reader of this blog and I quote (with his permission) an excerpt from the email;
“…I have been following your blog for some time now. I left the institutional church early this year and I have been asking God to meet with brethren outside the system before God led me to stumble upon your blog. I was wondering whether we can meet sometime next week maybe for lunch and chat a bit?…”
After this email, we got to meet with Peter and shared on our journeys outside institutional Christianity together with his friend with whom we have also become friends and from that point started communicating. Sometime last week, Peter sent me a link, “wolves in sheep’s clothing” where there are discussions on experiences with a group/movement that he had been a part of in Nairobi and wanted to know what I thought.
I read through the post and the subsequent comments from various readers and the following is my response to Peter on what I thought. I asked Peter whether he minds if I did the response as a post here to which he said he did not mind, so here goes;
“….. As I read through the post and subsequent comments, one of the things that went through my mind is the similarities of some negative characteristics of the group, as shared in the comments, with traits of a group I was myself a part of at some point in my journey.
This made me ponder how much the problems faced by saints in most groups has less to do with doctrine and more to do with an age old tactic of the enemy. This tactic (we are not ignorant of his devices(2 cor 2:11)) which he has used on Christians for ages has been, MIXTURE; mixing that which is of the spirit with that which is of the flesh. The scriptures are very clear that the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free(Gal 4:30).
Similarly, the plan of God , the eternal purpose in His Son shall not be apprehended in the flesh. I believe that most of the movements originate from the spirit, but somewhere along the way, the “Galatians’ phenomenon” (Gal 3:3) set in. That shall not make the cut – only that which is born of the Spirit overcomes the world.
What is the solution?
In my opinion, the solution is not in looking for the group that most accurately represents the right doctrine as this in time becomes a mirage; for the kingdom of God is neither here nor there, “…the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21).
The solution therefore is in getting to know the Kingdom within, that is the previously hidden mystery, which has now been revealed through the apostles, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”(Col 1:26&27). This Christ in us cannot be known by the canal mind (intellectually), He is a Spirit and true worshipers of God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (He’s also the Truth).
The normal human tendency is to once we receive revelation, our un-renewed minds (read flesh) wants to take it up and run with it. God’s way however is that we reckon ourselves dead to the flesh and alive in the spirit letting the spirit be in charge of our response. This process of dethroning the flesh is wrought by the cross which is not very acceptable to the flesh and hence most want to avoid it.
My thinking however is that all children of God ought to give themselves to the knowing of their Lord in their spirit, and denying their fleshly desires that are patterned after the ways of this world (Rom 12:2), and embrace the way of the cross as Jesus taught, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). This lived out daily will gradually, but surely acquaint the individual believer with the voice of the Shepherd and will be able to recognize that voice through whichever vessel He chooses to guide through.
On the other hand, he/she will as easily discern any other voice as not being of the Shepherd and not follow; for the thief comes , but to steal, kill and destroy, but the Shepherd came that we may have Life (John 10:10).
In short, what I am saying is that we who believe in Christ ought to give ourselves to the knowing of our Lord deeply by His Spirit (Heb 8:8-11), for in knowing Him, we have Life (1John 5:20) and we’ll get to a place in Him where we are not swayed by every wind of doctrine because He has become our All (Eph 1:23). The good news is that our Father wants us to know Him more than we’d think – It has pleased Him to give us the kingdom. (Lk 12:32)”
Dear reader, do you have experiences and/or insights that would help brethren trapped in man made religion escape to their God given liberty? Please feel free to share here.